For the holidays, it’s worth seeking out Old Chatham Sheepherding’s Hudson Valley Camembert. This rich, buttery soft-ripened cheese practically melts in your mouth. Spread a little on slices of warm baguette and serve with a salad or a soup, or just on its own. Or serve it after dinner, along with a few dried apricots or figs and a few toasted walnuts.
This camembert gets its special flavor from a unique blend of sheep’s milk and cow’s milk. Old Chatham Sheepherding, begun in the 1980s by Tom and Nancy Clark, was the first major cheesemaking sheep farm in this country, and the Clarks now raise over 1200 East Friesian ewes. While the Clarks make several excellent cheeses, and have just introduced a new blue cheese, their Hudson Valley Camembert has really made a splash in the cheese world, winning the grand prize in the 2001 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, as well as a blue ribbon at the 2000 American Cheese Society’s annual competition. For more information on ordering the cheese, visit the Old Chatham Sheepherding Web site at www.blacksheepcheese.com.